Kelly has served bank longest
By By LYDIA GRIMES-Features writer
Jerry Kelly Sr. is one of only 11 men who have served as president of the Bank of Brewton, the oldest bank in Alabama.
The bank was established in January of 1889 and has been in continuous operation ever since it was first located at 127 St. Joseph Ave. It moved to its present location in 1912. In all those 119 years there have been only 11 presidents of the bank. The founder of the bank, Charles L. Sowell, served as president from 1889-1892 and 1896-1899 and subsequent presidents were Stewart James Foshee, 1892-1896 and 1899-1907; Alex McGowin Jr., for two months in 1907; Samuel S. Foshee, 1907-1909; William E. Foshee, 1909-1917; Oscar M. Gordon, 1917-1929; Dr. Russell A. Smith, 1930-1943; James F. Smith, 1944-1946 and 1952-1967; A. Parker Weed, 1947-1951 and Albert E. Kelly, father of current president Jerry Kelly Sr., 1958-1980. Kelly took the helm in 1980, and is proud to have his son, Jerry Kelly Jr., following in his footsteps in the bank.
Albert E. Kelly, was the son of Albert D. Kelly and Alberta Ferrish. Albert D. Kelly was a railroad agent, which was a well-respected occupation. He was an elected county commissioner and ran a mercantile store in Wallace.
A.E. Kelly owned and operated three grocery stores in Brewton and also had a cotton gin. He first got into the banking business by buying into Union Bank at Repton. He later got an opportunity to buy into the Bank of Brewton and acquired the majority of the stock. He became president of the bank in 1958 and remained there for the next 12 years.
The current president was born in Mobile in 1936 and grew up in Brewton. He was educated in the Brewton School System and graduated from T.R. Miller in 1954.
It was during this time that he had his first job, working at the cotton gin, and later in the cotton warehouse owned by his father.
After high school he attended the University of Alabama. He was in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and graduated in 1958 with a bachelor of science degree in commerce.
While in college he was enrolled in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) and was commissioned as a First Lieutenant. A short time later he was sent to Ft. Sill in Lawton, Okla., to artillery school. After completion of the training he remained at Ft. Sill, serving as a safety officer. He was assigned to the local National Guard unit which, at that time, was an engineering company.
He became a paratrooper in May of 1962.
His banking career began shortly after working at the mill In 1963, he worked in his father's Repton bank, Union Bank. He stayed there until 1968 when he came to the Bank of Brewton. He became president of the bank in 1980 and continues in that position today, making him the longest serving president in the bank's 119-year history.
His membership and activities list is a long one. He has served or is serving in the following: Administrative Board, First United Methodist Church; chairman, Pastor Parish Relations Committee, First United Methodist Church; City of Brewton Industrial Development Board; Managing Partner, Kelly Properties LLP; Never Should Have Made it Club, Founding Member 77; past director, United Way; past member of Brewton City Board of Education; past president of Brewton Chamber of Commerce; past president of Brewton Rotary Club; president, chairman, and CEO, Repton Supply Company, Inc.; president, Risk Americans Insurance Company; member of the Board of Trustees, Huntingdon College and holds an honorary doctorate at the University of Alabama.
He was married in 1965 to Naomi Frazier of Evergreen and they have three children, Jerry M. Kelly Jr., Heather Picardi and Helen Roberts Kelly. They also have two grandchildren.
Kelly stays pretty busy with all his activities but he does have a few things he loves to do when he has the time. He likes to hunt and scuba dive and he loves sports, especially those at the University of Alabama.